Born and raised in the Midwest, I grew up appreciating the seasonal bounty and learned to utilize it to it's fullest extent. My parents grew marvelous tomatoes, summer squash, snap peas, herbs, and other edible delights from our home gardens. My father and I fished and went crabbing. In summertime he would take me to the farm-stands outside of town and we'd select the most magnificent ears of fresh sweet corn to accompany whatever it was to be thrown on the grill that night. I spent many a day in the kitchen at my mother's side as she baked, canned, and made preserves, often with cherries or apples that we picked earlier that day. She was an avid collector of recipes and cookbooks and I proudly continue that tradition. I have been intrigued by the tales of my paternal grandmother's Hungarian pastry skills, and have an adoration for the canons of Julia Child and James Beard. My culinary career began later in life. After spending years working front of house in restaurants to supplement my income as an independent fashion designer, I decided it was time to make my obsession with cooking official and take my career in a culinary direction. I started classes at the California Culinary Academy in 2010. After completing my externship at The Publican in Chicago, I returned to San Francisco where I worked for Nojo and the school lunch program at San Francisco Day School.
Life in California, with it's plethora of fantastic farms and locally-raised foods, has had a profound impact on the way I approach my dishes. Recently, my focus has been in re-making favorite and classic dishes from across various cultures into healthy, lower-fat and calorie versions, without forfeiting flavor and texture (though I find it necessary to offer the sinful, fun treats here and there!). As I learn more about how certain foods can positively impact our physical as well as our mental well-being, I will be exploring how to incorporate them in my menus to promote these positive effects- cooking up food with benefits, so to speak! For whatever I cook, I use the maxims I grew up with, and try to keep my ingredients local and seasonal as much as possible.